AFP: Iran’s oil ministry on Wednesday fiercely denied reports it had offered oil to the United States as aid for the victims of Hurricane Katrina, asserting that US policies and sanctions made such a gesture impossible.
TEHRAN – Iran’s oil ministry on Wednesday fiercely denied reports it had offered oil to the United States as aid for the victims of Hurricane Katrina, asserting that US policies and sanctions made such a gesture impossible.
“Moves by the United States to establish economic sanctions and other pressure against the Islamic Republic of Iran are the main barriers to Iranian aid,” said Iran’s envoy to the oil cartel OPEC, Hossein Kazempour-Ardebili.
“If the US removes these sanctions, the barriers will be removed too. If US economic sanctions against Iran did not exist, and if there were no barrier for Iran’s crude oil to enter the US market, we could supply between 10 million and 20 million barrels of oil as aid,” he told the ministry’s Shana news service.
But such talk, he insisted, was purely theoretical — and not a concrete offer from Iran as had been reported by some media.
“It is not clear why foreign agencies have reported this news about Iran offering oil relief to the US, because any decision on such matters rests with the parliament,” he asserted.
Washington and Tehran cut off diplomatic ties in 1981 after Islamist students stormed the US embassy in the Iranian capital and held 52 staff hostages for 444 days.
A 1996 US law threatens sanctions on both American and foreign companies investing more than 40 million dollars in Iran’s energy sector. The United States has been pushing for additional sanctions to be slapped on Tehran amid accusations the country is seeking nuclear weapons.
But Washington extended a helping hand when a massive earthquake hit the southern Iranian town of Bam killing more than 31,000 people in 2003.